In February, we met to discuss Warm Bodies, a title that we’d introduced at our first meeting almost a year ago! With the release of the film based on this Isaac Marion gem, we finally decided it was time for Read It & Steep to check it out. I’m so glad we did.
For the first time, the steepers went on a field trip so that we could discuss the book and the movie in one go. Most of us really enjoyed this book. I, personally, fell instantly in love with Marion’s writing style and we all really loved his unique take on what’s become a common theme: zombies.
Marion really stepped outside of the traditional zombie genre and brought us something completely new … life … or rather afterlife of a zombie from the zombie’s perspective. You have to feel for ‘R,’ a protagonist who has so much going on in his “dead” brain, but doesn’t have the capacity to coherently voice his complex thoughts. Also, Marion’s idea that the zombie can “experience life” by ingesting the brains of the recently dead, is a stroke of genius. I am a lover of all things zombie. I love the movies, the books, the video games, the tv shows … but this is the first time I felt that we are told just why zombies specifically want brains. It was such a great twist.
I wish I hadn’t known that the book was loosely based on Romeo and Juliet going into it (damn me and my imdb browsing!) but I loved it all the same. Once you know that it’s the case, if you are aware of the story of Romeo and Juliet, you are constantly waiting and expecting the same outcomes, but Marion takes the themes from Shakespeare and really creates a whole new world where the fates of everyone involved don’t have to correlate with their classic counterparts.
It is definitely a book worth the read, though most of us agreed that if there is a sequel that we will not partake in it. It’s perfect as a strong, unusually moving and thought provoking stand alone novel that is perfect for the young adult and adult alike … and you know what? We weren’t disappointed by the movie either.
While there were some pretty extreme changes (oh, Hollywood, why must you always do that!) the story still worked. While Nicholas Hoult is much younger than any of us imagined R, he was a really great choice. He was able to convey R’s struggle to be understood with unblinking effectiveness.
Among the changes that gave us pause, the filmmakers toned down the gore to almost none (which was okay). The role of ‘M’ was much more comedic when portrayed by Rob Corddry as opposed to the large, menacing, galumphing, and porn watching ‘M’ of the novel. And of course, as Steeper Angela pointed out, some of the changes from book to movie were used to “make the death(s) more palatable.” The pun was not intended at the time, but still greatly enjoyed.
The 9 film attendees had only one major gripe with the film and that was the use of the Col. Grigio character. We felt that the overall story lost something by the changes made to Julie’s dad. Oh, well, the music choices were wonderful and as we laughingly agreed at book club … the film and the book bleed together beautifully.